Seoul, being one of the most densely populated cities in the world, is undergoing multiple revitalizations of unused urban spaces in order to create places of rest, recreation and culture among an extremely active city. The river has oftentimes been overlooked in many cities, and for Seoul, the Han River divides the city in half and is virtually cut off by fast-paced highways. As part of the Han River Renaissance, initiated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the Seoul Floating Islands are part of a large scheme intended to program and stimulate the water landscape. H Architecture in New York and Haeahn Architecture in Seoul collaborated and won a design competition to create the floating islands that will become a cultural icon of Seoul. Programmatically, the islands contain several cultural, educational, and recreational functions. They will be the venue for many featured events in the city. The design concept stems from the stages of a blooming flower: a seed, bud, and blossom. Each of the islands take on the form of one of these stages, manifesting as delicate yet bold structures of glass, wood, and steel. When completed, the islands were named “Sebit Dungdungseom” which translates to “3 Floating Lantern Islands”.
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